26 September 2023

New rules identify coal dust exposure

Start the conversation

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has announced new rules that mean the workplace exposure standard for respirable coal dust in Queensland has been halved.

From 1 October the time-weighted average of three milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) has been reduced to 1.5 mg/m3.

In a statement, the Agency said respirable coal dust could be generated and made airborne during a number of work processes using coal.

These included the breaking, crushing or milling of coal; coal combustion processes; handling and transport of coal and coal fly ash, or the storage and stockpiling of coal.

The Agency said exposure could also result from shutdown maintenance activities and the housekeeping and cleaning of workplaces where coal was used.

“Businesses that work with coal will need to review existing dust controls and procedures to make sure they meet the new standard and keep workers safe, and continue to meet existing requirements for air and health monitoring,” the Agency said.

“Workers must take reasonable care for their own health and safety; comply with any reasonable policy or procedure from the business for keeping safe from coal dust exposure at work, and wear any appropriate personal protective equipment provided by the business.”

The Agency said it had established the Managing Respirable Dust Hazards in Coal- fired Power Stations Code of Practice 2018 to provide clear, enforceable standards for industry.

“We are also investing $5 million for medical research that improves the health and wellbeing of Queensland workers with occupational dust lung diseases like coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis,” it said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.